On Friday, November 13, seven beloved and respected leaders in the community will lace up their dancing shoes, get some pep in their step and get ready to take part in the 6th Annual The Stars of New York Dance– a lively, thrilling and hilariously fun dance-off competition that raises dance education funds for children from low-income communities.
This year’s event will be hosted by Errol Louis of NY1 News and will honor Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams for his three decades of public service.
Similar to Dancing with the Stars, seven New York City leaders (“The Stars”) will partner with seven professional dance artists (“The Dancers”) who teach and perform with a community-based dance organization around NYC. The Stars engage in weeks of rigorous dance training to learn a three- to four- minute routine choreographed by their dance partner.
“I started dancing at St Paul Community Baptist Church at the age of 30 with two bad knees, and dance changed my life,” said Cheryl Todmann, founder and creative director of The Stars of New York Dance. “I became more confident, creative and started winning awards at work. I thought if it can do this for me, it could help children and adults in our community reach their full potential. So even though I didn’t have a dance or production background, I had faith and believed that this was my personal assignment.”
The night of the event, the seven couples compete to perform the fiercest dance duet and are judged on originality, creativity, technique, showmanship and costumes.
The couple that receives the highest judged score wins a $5,000 Dance Access Award to provide five or more children from low-income communities in New York City with a free year of high-quality dance education and training with their respective dance organization. The other competing dance organizations receive a $1,000 Dance Access Award that pays for dance tuition fees, class uniforms, shoes and dance costumes.
“Community and church members come out in droves to see their elected officials and pastors dance, because legislators and pastors don’t typically dance in this way ! But they will for a good cause!,” said Todmann.
Check out this video footage of The Stars of New York Dance 2014 Winners: Dancing Star City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo and choreographer Jamel Gaines
Since its inception in 2010, the response to the competition has been amazing. In addition to providing more than 50 children with free and subsidized dance education and training with a local, community-based dance organization, the dance-off also has created hundreds of new dance ambassadors from the community who participate as competitors and are developing new audiences for dance.
“When I look at what Cheryl has done, I am proud to have been affiliated it with this [event] for so many years. And it has continued to evolve,” said Borough President Adams. “The arts, including dance, poetry, theatre performances– the combination of all of those things– help develop the full [person], and Cheryl has really led the way in doing that. So I’m proud to receive any form of acknowledgement from an initiative that I truly respect.”
This year’s “Dancing Stars” are:
- Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, Presidential Advisor, Diplomat, and President & CEO of Charisma Speakers. She is also a Congressional Candidate for New York’s 13th Congressional District in the United States Congress
- Rev. David K. Brawley, Lead Pastor, St. Paul Community Baptist Church
- Diana Reyna, Deputy Borough President, Office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
- Joseph C. Grant, Jr., Director of Arts & Culture, Office of Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., 36th Council District
- Audrey Edwards, Writer and Former Executive Editor, Essence Magazine; Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens
- Horace L. Moore, Executive Director/Founder, Chionesu Bakari Program for Young Men
- Michelle McClymont, Entrepreneur Consultant
“We are increasing the visibility and the awareness of local dance and arts organizations and showing how vital they are to the community as a whole,” said Todmann. “Our overall goal is to get everyone in NYC to dance and with the leaders, dance organizations and sponsors we partner with. We are well on our way!”
What: 6th Annual The Stars of New York Dance Competition Benefiting New York City Children and Youth
When: Friday, November 13; 5:30PMVIP Cocktail Reception; 7:00PMDance Competition
Where: Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, LIU-Brooklyn Campus, One University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tickets: VIP Tickets include VIP Seating and the 5:30PMCocktail Reception: $125. General Admission Tickets: $75. Purchase tickets online at www.kumbletheater.org. Checks can also be made payable to The Stars of New York Dance and mailed to P.O. Box 170511, Times Plaza Station, Brooklyn, NY 11217.
*The Stars of New York Dance is a nonprofit organization and a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit arts service organization.*